Stuart Pearce: “I want Walcott”
Fabio Capello: “No, he’s mine” (laughs out loud)
Stuart Pearce: “But if we have Theo, we will win the tournament”
Fabio Capello: “Ah, but then we will not qualify, let’s see what Arsene says”
Arsene Wenger: “No, no Stuart, we have Jack Wilshere for your team, Theo Walcott will stay with the senior team.”
Morning all, and it’s Friday. A time to relax and rejoice, a time to look forward to another big game and a weekend of football. Walcott has been the centre of a tug of war between Stuart Pearce and Fabio Capello. The England Under 21 has secured the playing time of startlets Gabriel Agbonlahor, David Wheater, James Milner and Mark Noble into his squad. Agbonlahor widely tipped for an England call up, but also wanted Theo Walcott.
This is really what Stuart Pearce said about when he asked Fabio Capello:
“He didn’t really answer my question. He just burst out laughing. Bear in mind that I asked him in the dressing room in Croatia. I thought strike while the iron is hot.”
Well, the fact that Theo’s not been named in the Under 21 squad is a clear indication that he’s firmly routed in the England first team. I firmly believe he will start the two up and coming England games.
When questioned on whether Arsene would approve of which squad Walcott played for next, he said, rather diplomatically:
“I would not be against it. When they go from a top team to the Under-21s with all the examples I have seen it doesn’t really work. I have seen it many times with young players and it has never worked very well. But I can understand that England wants to use him. He is 19 years-old and if he can contribute to the Under-21 team, why not? I had that in France with Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka when they were already in the top team and then went below. It is never conclusive. But Theo would be happy to do it and I would not stand in his way.”
It’s quite funny because that statement can be taken many ways. I’ve seen some headlines “Wenger backs Walcott for Under 21 role” as well as “Wenger warning for Walcott”.
Changing subject completely…
Adebayor has been the centre of some debate this season with some quite inconsistent form at the start of the season. He was almost non-existent against Hull, but very much part of the Porto performance. I’m not a fan of Ade when he’s offside 16 times in one game and doesn’t look interested, but then the next game I become a big fan again when he pulls the strings, wins headers, score goals and has a smile on his face. I just wish he would be consistent. Maybe his partner with Van Persie will get him going a bit more, as well as the form of the young pretenders, Bendtner and Vela, waiting in the wings…
Let’s take a look at what Ade had to say:
“I am very happy because now Robin is fit, looking great and scoring a lot of good goals. We are just enjoying playing together. He is a very good player. I am just using him and he is using me as well. We have got a great partnership upfront and we have the same ambition, which is to help this team to win something. All we try to do at the moment is create a relationship. We have shown that we can do something together and everyone is pleased. That is the most important thing.
“We know that if we had had all of our squad fit last season we would have had the chance to win something. Van Persie, Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo got that bad injury towards the end of the season. If you put all these names together, as soon as they are off pitch, it is not the same game.
“Now this season it is easier to compete because there are a lot of players ready and fit to play in every single game and I think that is good for us.”
Let’s see how they fair tomorrow at Sunderland. I think the next game is the real test.
We’ve played Hull and lost. We responded by playing Porto and winning comfortably. Tomorrow is a real test of our character. Sunderland won’t play like Blackburn or Bolton. The fans will be loud and the place will be buzzing. Can we come away with all three points?
Match preview tomorrow…